02 Mar 2007

Switching to Gmail

Recently I’ve been thinking about my need for a permanent email address. Currently I use my mail.rochester.edu account for virtually all of my online communication, but I won’t be able to retain that account after I graduate. In anticipation of that day, even though it’s at least 2 years off, I’ve started moving a lot of correspondence to a Gmail account that I just signed up for. Don’t make fun of me, I know that all the cool people signed up for Gmail years ago, when invites were a hot commodity, but I only felt the need recently.

Being a big fan of a hierarchically organized folder system, I was initially put off by the complete lack of folders in Gmail. I have at least 20 folders in Mail.app, and 10 or so rules so that most of my mail gets sorted as it comes in. Then I realized that Gmail has tags, which might be better than folders because messages can have more than one tag. In addition, they won’t immediately disappear into a folder where I’ll forget about them; they’ll stay in my inbox until I choose to archive them. Also, Gmail’s conversation feature, which groups messages by thread, is really, really nice.

I’m about to pull the plug on Mail.app by forwarding all my Rochester email to Gmail. The only thing that is holding me back is that if I do that, my mail will be split between residing on my hard drive and on Gmail. So I think I’ll open Mail.app every once in a while and download my Gmail messages, so I have a copy on my hard drive. This would also save me the problem of having no access to my mail if I did not have an internet connection. I haven’t completely decided what to do yet; hopefully I’ll figure it out in the next week or so.